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Gun control, voting rights, family planning, and environmental protection—these are all hot-button issues today, but they were also the same difficult and intractable issues that Senator Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland faced during his tenure in the Senate in the 1960s.
In this timely memoir, Tydings looks back on a life of public service, from the Maryland General Assembly to chief federal prosecutor in Maryland and ultimately to the United States Senate. As an early “Kennedy Man,” Tydings’s political stock soared, but it just as quickly crashed because of his willingness to go “against the grain” on perhaps one progressive issue too many.
As the adopted son of a US senator, grandson of an adviser to three US presidents, and step-grandson of perhaps the wealthiest woman of her age, Tydings nevertheless made his own way, rising from horse platoon corporal in war-ravaged Germany to legislative reformer. He prosecuted fellow Democrats for fraud, stood up to presidents over Supreme Court nominees and the war in Vietnam, and faced down segregationists over voting rights. His family planning initiatives are still in effect. He battled the National Rifle Association over gun control—and suffered the consequences.
After a decade of political assassinations, from the Kennedy brothers to Martin Luther King, Jr., and a turn to the right with the election of Richard Nixon, America’s political climate soured for progressive politics, and Tydings narrowly lost reelection.
My Life in Progressive Politics provides an important, insider account of a landmark era in American politics.
TIME & DATE
Sunday, August 12, 2018 - 5:00pm